A large gathering of community members gathered for a ribbon cutting at the corner of Lee and Albert Broadfoot streets in Bonham on June 24 at noon. The board and staff of the Fannin County Children’s Center were excited to celebrate on the site of their future facility with community leaders, partner agencies, volunteers, donors and other community supporters.
Kelly Royse, local business owner and board member of the Children’s Center, welcomed everyone to the event. She quoted JFK in calling those in attendance “stewards of the future.”
Cindy Bankston talked about the long-standing relationship between the Glaser Family Charitable Foundation and the Fannin County Children’s Center. The foundation was formed about 20 years ago by Cindy’s parents Jim and Raynell Glaser, with a primary focus on the education and well being of children in this county. Their first grant was to the Children’s Center to help purchase and renovate the current facility. Bankston was pleased to announce that the foundation was pledging to give $50,000 to build the dream of a new, larger facility. Furthermore, this gift will be a challenge gift, encouraging others to give too.
Executive Director Sandy Barber shared that the dream for a new, larger facility started in 2016 during a strategic planning session. She outlined what happened over the past five years to get the Children’s Center to today where they now have about 8 acres of donated land, architectural drawings and a plan to raise the money needed to build the new facility.
The new center will have space for CPS investigators to co-locate at the center, a medical exam room and expanded therapy services, among other things.
“We have a big, bold goal. We are going to raise $10 million to Build the Dream of a new, larger facility to help kids from hard places,” said Barber. “I am excited to announce that we already have $1.7 million lined up.”
Bonnie Donaghey has donated $50,000 in memory of her late husband Lewis Donaghey.
Barber explained that the Glaser and Donaghey gifts, which together total $100,000, are challenge gifts. “That is, our community is being challenged to match these gifts dollar for dollar. Your gift of $50, for example, will be matched and become $100.”
The estate of Dr. Henry Spies has contributed over $800,000 to this project. The board of directors of Fannin Bank approved a gift of $25,000 to this project and the family of long time CASA Program Director Joyce McGehee donated $10,000 in her memory.
Rev. Dana Coker, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bonham and member of the Children’s Center board, gave a blessing for the land, the project and the people who will serve and be served at the new center.
Legend Bank provided hot dog lunch for those in attendance and TXB and MCCraw Oil provided chips, cookies and cold water.
Barber outlined three ways community members can get involved: volunteer, donate or become a champion for the cause. The center needs CASA volunteers, donations to meet the challenge gift for the new building and help spreading the word about the center’s mission and project.